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Greatorex doubles

Double varieties bred by Heyrick Greatorex

Heyrick Greatorex (d. 1954) was a commissioned cavalry officer in the Great War and captain of the Home Guard detachment guarding Acle bridge in the Second World War. He latterly became very reclusive, leading a new age lifestyle in a converted railway carriage at the bottom of his garden in Brundall, Norfolk.

In the 1940's he used pollen from nivalis flore pleno and crossed it with Galanthus plicatus to produce a range of hybrid doubles. The resulting plants were tall, vigorous and robust and with their large, regular and neat flowers caused something of a sensation; at a time when the only widely available double was the pollen parent (nivalis flore pleno) with its rather muddled flowers.

Greatorex named most of his plants after female Shakespearean characters. Unfortunately, the absence of any clear original descriptions or illustrations, coupled with his secretive distribution methods, means that it is not clear whether some of the original plants have been confused over the years.

We originally acquired several different Greatorex doubles from Noel Pritchard who in turn had received them from Primrose Warburg; naming was a bit confused!

In a bid to sort out the confusion, we subsequently acquired bulbs from many other sources for comparison. Some of these are likely to be correctly named; others quite clearly are not. As a result, we have large numbers of plants of at least six different types; but have identified only Jacquenetta and Lavinia with certainty. One commercial bulb catalogue used to list "mixed Greatorex doubles", we can see why.

Identification is hampered by the fact that their flowers will vary considerably in the two seasons after they have been transplanted; making observation of mature undisturbed clumps a pre-requisite.

 We are continuing to try and sort them out and name them correctly in accordance with the recently published monograph.


A tall Greatorex, rarely showing any aberration in flow...

Mixed Greatorex doubles

We now have considerable quantities of Greatorex double...